Polish-born French radiochemist.
The wife of Pierre Curie (1859-1906), Marie graduated in physics from the Sorbonne in 1893. Following the discovery in 1896 by Antoine Henri Becquerel (1852-1908) of the radioactive properties of uranium, Marie decided to study this topic for her doctoral thesis. Through her research she found that thorium is radioactive and that the radioactivity of uranium was an atomic property.
Marie and Pierre discovered two new elements in 1898 - polonium and radium - for which Marie was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911. In 1903, the same year she was awarded her doctorate, she won the Nobel Prize for Physics along with her husband and Becquerel.
On her husband's death she took over his post as Professor of Physics at the Sorbonne. During the First World War she developed X-radiography and became director of the Radium Institute in Paris (1918-1934). She eventually died of leukaemia in 1934.